Only Shaleph O’Neill at Napier was brave enough to attempt to answer the two questions I posed to kickstart a discussion on the Leonardo-Net list about the issues raised at the first workshop. His response was worth putting somewhere less ephemeral than email, especially as it makes recommendations for the next workshop. Should anyone now feel inspired to take on his points, please use the comment facility.
1.what is art?
The problem with this question is that nearly the whole of 20th century art practice was centered around it, in that the pre-conceptions of what art is i.e. established traditions became challenged and subsequently over run to the point where what was considered to be art was the very nature of challenging what ever ideas about art that had gone before. So challenging preconceived ideas about art is still very central to art practice. Similarly there is the role of the artist as shaman or outsider, whose place in the culture in which s/he lives is to reflect on the culture that surrounds her. I think this notion of reflective practice is central to what we are exploring here.
I think, and people may disagree with me here, that the kind of computer technology we are dealing with here represents a new medium for artist/ performers. The BIG problem as I see it is that only people who have particular skill sets know how to make things with them. Artists engage with their materials bringing ideas to it and deriving ideas from it in a playful reflective way. I think sometimes it is difficult for artists to engage in this way with such new media (particularly media that requires a lot of coding, perhaps).
2. What kind of collaboration could we artistically produce?
For us what our art is will be determined by our engagement with the material. Therefore I would strongly propose having perhaps one workshop (maybe even the next one, be good to do this early so we can reflect on it) that is based around some kind of system as material. This would have to take place in a media lab that has interesting existing equipment/resources. I think the motion capture equipment is a really interesting avenue to pursue. Some of the themes I remember coming out were about space, place, performance and embodiment. In just about all the art that I can think of the body is central to either its production or the forms of its representation. Starting with the body and its relationship to these new technologised spaces I think is a very interesting idea.
It would be good to have some equipment available with some experts who know how to manipulate it, quickly. We could work collaboratively during a workshop conducting artistic experiments (trying things out and reflecting on them). This would be an interesting exercise for everyone. It would also be an excellent opportunity to document what goes on during this process. Much of this documentation will undoubtedly feed into our creative processes also providing material for others within the group to produce other art works.